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Alert neighbors help police catch burglary suspects
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Derrick Graham, 26, of Richmond, is ushered to a police transport unit by Officer Mike Kelly after his arrest for residential burglary and conspiracy mid-day on Monday. - photo by GLENN KAHL

Alert Neighborhood Watch members put a crimp in a residential burglary attempt Monday during the noon hour when they called 911 as they witnessed a Richmond man removing a screen from a bedroom window in the 600 block of Gold Court.

Manteca Police officers responded to the residential area south of Louise Avenue and west of North Main Street taking positions on the roadway in front of the home and putting one officer at the back fence bordering a neighborhood park just east of Parkside Avenue.

Patrolmen Mike Espinosa and Armen Avakian teamed up in the front of the home as Officer Marnix Lub staged in a position near the back fence in the park.  Avakian detained a 24-year-old Richmond woman, Delayna Smith, sitting in a 1994 Buick Park Avenue where she was allegedly acting as a lookout for 26-year-old Derrick Benjamin Graham, of Richmond, who had entered the back yard of the home.  He had reportedly been jumping fences at several addresses in the subdivision.

Graham had apparently been spooked by the arriving trio of officers and jumped the back fence into the park.  As he tried to hide in bushes, officers said he jumped back over the fence into the homeowner’s yard and hunkered down near the fireplace.  Officer Espinosa had gone through the house to get to the back yard and took Smith down at gunpoint.

Officers said the man was fortunate he did not make it into the house because of a family pit bull that was waiting to welcome him.  Graham cried as Officer Mike Kelly was leading him to the transport unit in the middle of the street, asking why he was being arrested.

As officers were searching the man’s car parked halfway on the sidewalk, they located Christmas presents in the trunk that had come from a toy store in the City of Newark.  It was unknown whether or not they had been stolen.

Graham was reportedly on parole for a former residential burglary conviction.  He and his accomplice were both charged with burglary and conspiracy, police said.  He was transported to San Joaquin County Jail in French Camp where he is being held without bail due to his parole violation.

In addition to the parole violation he was charged with two other felonies including attempted burglary and a misdemeanor for resisting and obstructing and delaying of police officers. 

Smith was cited to appear in court and was not jailed for her part in the burglary attempt.